Create a Business Funnel

The best business clients are those who buy from us over and over again, not just once. Attracting potential customers online is no different and the easiest way is by using the funnel model to keep them coming.

The wide top of the funnel gathers buyers by offering low priced products or services. Then the funnel gradually provides higher priced items. Depending on your business, you may not be able to offer all of the levels, but the goal is to provide as many as possible. The following is a proven funnel business model with number one as the entry level and number five offering the highest ticket items:

  1. Tell your customers what to do in a general way. For example, an overview of how to prepare a car for winter driving.
  2. Tell them how to do it step by step using text or audio.
  3. Show them how to do it – video or live training.
  4. Sell them a product that does it for them.
  5. Do it for them.

If you have a product, create services to support it. If your business provides a service, create a product to match. Keep creating more products or services to offer.

Are you using a funnel model? Is it similar to this?

To your online success,
Carol

NAMS Updates and New Membership Program

4 generations at NAMS6This past weekend I was in Atlanta for the NAMS (Novice To Advanced Marketing Systems) workshop I attend twice a year. We enjoyed a great hotel, delicious meals, informative workshops, and great networking – especially around the fire pit in the evenings.

Although I was exhausted at the end of the three days, I was more than happy I went. As well as hands on workshops in everything from WordPress security to video marketing, these were some of the highlights for me:

  • keynotes by Kathleen Gage and Paul Evans.
  • a fifteen minute brainstorming session with Mark Hendricks
  • won Dragon Naturally Speaking software in one of the many draws
  • was given an autographed book by Kathleen Gage as were my mother, daughter, and grandson since we were there as four generations – and yes, my 86 year old mother blogs and sells information products (that’s a photo of the four of us at the beginning of this post)
  • Amazon and Kindle publishing tips from Kevin Riley
  • Seeing a number of people register their first domain name and set up their first WordPress blog, all by themselves
  • meals with some of the best online marketers around
  • the opportunity to spend time with people who are changing the world for good, whether it be orphanages in other countries or heart surgeries for children who would never be able to afford them.

If you’ve never attended a live marketing event, I encourage you to make the effort to go to one like NAMS – no sales pitches, just solid information and encouragement that will take your business to the next level.

P.S. NAMS creator, David Perdew, has created a membership site that will allow members the opportunity to attend the live events at a deep discount. I joined as soon as I got home, since right now fees are 90% off. For under $10 a month, I can access the forum, attend the monthly webinars and q and a sessions. The special reports and extra training will be nice, but being able to talk to established marketers who want to help me succeed online is my main reason for joining. And since NAMS gets more popular every year, tickets to NAMS7 in Atlanta next February will probably be sold out to the members.

To your online success,
Carol

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August In Atlanta

Is our up and down weather getting you down? Or maybe the up and down economy? Why not join me for August 19th to 22nd in Atlanta, Georgia this summer? Often called Hotlanta, you’ll finally get real warm weather. And as for the economy, you’ll be learning so much about marketing on the Internet and meeting so many influential people, that you’ll be taking your business to a new level that doesn’t depend on the current economy where you live.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I attend NAMS (Niche Affiliate Marketing Systems) twice a year. But did I ever tell you that this live workshop isn’t just about affiliate marketing, although Lynn Terry (that’s her on the left of the photo below), a superaffiliate, is one of the featured trainers?

Lynn Terry
In the past, we’ve covered writing press releases and actually done them during class. We watch behind the scenes as teleseminars, webinars, and products are created. We learn about copywriting from Karon Thackston, article marketing from Jeff Herring, video promotions from Maritza Parra, membership sites from Kathleen Gage, and Blogging from Denise Wakeman. Often we put what we watch into practice in a hands-on component. And those are just some of the experts represented. Every year new faculty join NAMS and it’s becoming a who’s who of the Internet marketing world.

Yet, NAMS remains easy enough for beginners, social enough that you can enjoy a chat with all the trainers. Note I call them trainers, not just presenters, because the goal of every marketer teaching at NAMS is to give you the tools to do what they do. There are four tracks: absolute beginner, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. You decide yourself which of those tracks you belong to and can change if you find another area suits you better. In fact, although I spend most of my time in the intermediate room, I’ll sometimes head over to the beginner group to fill in any gaps in my Internet education. The only exception to that is the advanced group – these are marketers that are already making a full-time living online and want to get to the next level, so their sessions are unrecorded and meant for that elite group.

As August gets closer, the anticipation heats up and everyone enrolled becomes really eager for NAMS to start. If you’re on Twitter, you can see the excitement building up at #nams. Another reason I like attending is because it’s reasonably priced. Since I’m coming from Canada, I have to be choosy about the events I attend, and I appreciate the low cost of admission. I usually share a room with some of the other attendees, so it becomes very affordable. And the reason I’m mentioning NAMS again, as well as the fact I’m getting more eager as the days pass, is because David Perdew, the creator of NAMS, has one last special offer.

Please let me know if you decide to attend NAMS and I’ll do my best to introduce you and make you feel welcome. I know you won’t regret your time in Atlanta this August. Hope to see you there!

To your online success,
Carol

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Customer Service – Does It Set You Apart?

When a person walks through your shop door or uses your service, do you become memorable to them? Do they tell their friends about your business and sing your praises? Or are their comments negative? In these days of social media, experiences are shared with hundreds of people and you risk losing more than just that one customer. How can you make your customer service amazing?

I’m one of those people that will allow poor customer service without voicing my displeasure at the time. But I will never use that service or go to that establishment again. And I will tell everyone I know to stay away. At the same time, when I encounter excellent customer service, I come back again and again, bringing others with me. Competing on the basis of price alone could never produce that kind of loyalty.

My oldest son, Daniel, is the owner of the Freshco store in Kitchener. A fairly new store, many people either don’t know it exists or aren’t sure what to expect from a Freshco grocery store. My son has learned that excellent customer service is what will keep people coming back week after week. He keeps the store spotlessly clean and attractive and his employees enjoy working there. Daniel makes sure that all of his staff do their best to make their customers feel special. Little things like notifying them when a shipment comes in, to the big things like making sure that when a person arrives with a complaint, they leave the store happy. As a result, people are telling other people and new customers are even coming from outside of Kitchener.

That’s the kind of customer service we want. Satisfied people telling others on Twitter, Facebook, or at their jobs about what a great business we have and how highly they recommend it. That kind of feedback does more than thousands of dollars spent on advertising. How are you cultivating that relationship?

Carol

Answering Your Customers

Lately, I’ve been researching options to create a membership site. I’ve narrowed my choices down to two – one a monthly fee and the other a one time payment. I was leaning toward the former and emailed them to ask the differences between both programs to justify the extra expense.

I received the following answer: ” It would be great if you will be a part of our community, so that members of this community will know what are your ideas and be a part of your connections. Interacting and sharing interest can contribute a lot from exposing yourself and all that is about your own community. We are happy and excited if you will join our network. Our membership site is a big community it will help you a lot in building up your own network.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t understand this email at all. It hasn’t answered my questions and the poor use of English has me worried. It’s too bad because I really liked the sounds of this company before I received their email.

Try looking at your customer service from a patron’s point of view. Are you closing the sale or closing the door?

Online Customer Service

When working online, excellent customer service is even more important than it is in the offline world. Your perspective clients can’t see you face to face, hear the way you speak, or judge your body language. Those are all decisions that come into play when someone is deciding whether or not to do business with you. No matter how good your company’s reputation is, if you or your salespeople come across as arrogant or rude, you’ll lose a sale.

So how can you make a positive impression on the Internet? Well, there are a few ways that will keep people coming back to find out more about you and your business. You can add audio or video to your site. That way, customers begin to feel that they know you. At the very least, have a photo of you and some background information on an “About Me” page of your site.

Another important matter is making sure you respond to comments left on your site or emails sent to you as quickly as possible. A few weeks ago, I sent email to two different companies and neither of them has bothered to reply. As a result, my feelings about those companies have been affected.

One I will continue to buy from, because in the past they provided efficient customer service, so I’m willing to give them another chance.

The other business was one I wanted to know more about and there was the potential of a long association with them. But the fact that they didn’t respond at all, not even with an automated follow-up message (easily done with an autoresponder) has given me a negative opinion of the company. Which is too bad, because the service they provide is excellent. But without excellent customer relations as well, they’ve lost my interest!

Carol

Creating Demand Through Fear of Loss

There are many ways to create demand for a product. One of them is by using fear of loss. The potential buyer makes up his mind to purchase when the possibility arises that the product may no longer be available.

I saw this method in action the other day. My daughter and I went into a local consignment toy store and noticed a brand new blackboard and paint easel at an amazing price. Unfortunately, someone else also seemed very interested in it.

My daughter casually remarked that the price wasn’t that great and started to look at something else nearby. The other customer, who of course overheard her comment, also turned away and began looking at other merchandise. As soon as he walked away, my daughter picked up the easel and took it to the cash. I’ve never seen her move so fast.

Two lessons learned that day: fear of loss does make people decide quickly and social proof plays a big role. In this case, because a total stranger said that the price wasn’t that special, the other interested customer decided not to bother with a product he had been looking at. How can you use social proof to create demand for your products or services?

Carol